The New York Times reports further on an element Benji Hardy mentioned last night of how Arkansas and other states are coping with an end of federal subsidies of portions of health coverage costs.
With premiums for the most popular “silver” plans in the federal marketplace going way up, the Times says customers can find safe harbor in either high-deductible cheap insurance or perhaps find price-competitive lower deductible plans outside the federal marketplace.
It’s complicated. And there is no relief, as Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted, for those who make too much to qualify for any subsidies, at least on the “silver” plans. But the Times noted:
The new pricing structure is the worst for people who earn too much to qualify for a subsidy — those earning more than four times the federal poverty level, or about $100,000 a year for a family of four. But most of them will also be protected from the cost increases. If they avoid silver plans sold on the Obamacare marketplaces in most states, they can find plans that don’t have the special, Trump-prompted increases. That means that unsubsidized customers who want to buy silver plans will probably need to shop outside of HealthCare.gov, through a human or online broker. Or they can buy a bronze, gold or platinum plan.
“It’s a convoluted kludge of a workaround,” said David Anderson, a research associate at the Duke University Margolis Center for Health Policy, who has looked closely at how carriers are pricing their plans. But Mr. Anderson said he thought the upside was strong enough that Congress should abandon its efforts to restore the canceled subsidies. “A lot of people are going to see during open enrollment that they are going to be able to afford a better plan with lower deductibles and lower premiums than they could this year,” he said.
If I may interject a tired refrain amid the chaos and complications: Single-payer national health insurance.